AMBruno Artists: Valérie Mary

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Valérie Mary


The making of artists books is quite new to me and I am always learning something with each one. It is a way to mix my love for books as objects, my love of language coupled with a fear of writing, and my practice as a visual artist.

I think there is always a narrative pressing in the way I approach it. I think of the books as "stories without words", so they are elliptical objects in that respect. Each one is an attempt to find out a workable structure with materials related to the content.

Most of them have been hand-made, in limited editions.

Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary's practice is based on painting and etching and relates to notions of memory and experience. She is interested in the way a narrative is brought up through the very making of the work, offering a stage that invites and confronts the imaginary space of the viewer.

She gained her BA (first class) and MA (distinction) Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She also graduated in Art-Therapy (Profac) and is a member of the "Ligue Professionnelle d'Art-Thérapie" (France).

She now lives and works as an artist and art-therapist in Bordeaux (France).

Recent exhibition: Triennale de gravure. Musée Raymond Lafargue. Lisle-sur-Tarn (France).

Re-Momentum  by Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary, Re-Momentum (2014)
Copper plate etching and aquatint

Re-Momentum, which is part of AMBruno's Stills collection of limited edition
prints, is based on a memory I have from the movie Stalker by Andrei
Tarkovsky, when a girl stands in the middle of a staircase in a place that looks
like a grotto. I wanted to re-capture the feeling of uncanny, suspended time I
got when I saw it.

Turbulence  by Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary, Turbulence (2013)
Edition of 15. Digitally printed.
Soft cover. 24 pages.

Sweet Sixteen Portraits by Valérie Mary Sweet Sixteen Portraits by Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary, Sweet Sixteen Portraits (2013)
18.5 x 14.5cm. Edition of 20.
Cover: 270gr grey board. Japanese side-binding.

Turbulence: Ten drawings made according to the following process: a frame of vertical lines is drawn by the computer, within that space moves a zone of turbulence where the hand gesture takes over from this half-grid, a 'gesture without finality' referring to nothing other than its own exhibition as gesture. Turbulence is part of AMBruno's Lines collection.

Sweet Sixteen Portraits, which is part of AMBruno's 16 collection, aimed at using '16' as in the 'sweet sixteen' expression. The book consists of a series of black and white portraits of young girls turning 16 in 2013, printed on acetate. As such, they first seem indistinguishable and fleeting images of hybrid faces, until the page is turned and the portrait brought to life for a few seconds. They reflect a moment in adolescence when one discovers and plays with one's own potential. I was also interested in the way they refer to media images aimed at women.

Conception of a Work of Art by Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary, Conception of a Work of Art (2012)
7.5 x 10.5cm. Open edition. Digitally printed.

Conception of a Work of Art by Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary
Conception of a Work of Art (2012)

The project of Conception of a Work of Art was to use the image of a black circle as a punctuation sign, followed by its derivatives, to explore the dream of a language without words, yet able to express the inexpressible, to represent the indescribable that constitutes the creative process and the experience of a work of art. The book is made from an A4 size folded and cut, so to appear as a three-dimensional book. The image hidden inside is a photo of a painting illustrating the unfolding of the book as a 'pregnant moment'. Conception of a Work of Art is part of AMBruno's Black Circle collection.

Infancy by Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary, Infancy (2012)
A4. Edition of 10. One-fold book.

Infancy by Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary, Infancy (2012)

On the left hand side interior page of Infancy is attached an etching (20 x 15cm) printed on Velin d'Arches, illustrating my love for books as a child. The title also refers to the evolution of the notion of book. Infancy is part of AMBruno's One-Fold Books collection.

Summertime Blues by Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary, Summertime Blues (2011)
25 x 21.5cm. Edition of 6. Series of etchings, 15 x 10cm.
Hardcover with blue cloth and Japanese binding.

Summertime Blues by Valérie Mary

Valérie Mary
Summertime Blues

Summertime Blues, which is part of AMBruno's Blue collection, is a brief blue history of the relationship between man and nature from Novalis' dream of a blue flower to Fukushima's disaster. Novalis, who initiated the German Romanticism movement, was longing to find a blue flower which symbolises the joining of human spirit to the understanding of nature. Two centuries later, in the 80's, a Japanese rock band worried about the development of nuclear plant, changed the lyrics of E.Cochrane's Summertime Blues to denounce the government's nuclear policy blindness. At the time forbidden on the radio, thanks to lobbies' pressure, the song is now a hit since Fukushima catastrophe.

The book is inspired by these elements. It consists of 7 different etchings. Each etching is printed twice: the first print is on tracing paper, the second on Velin d'Arches 220g/m2. When the reader turns the tracing paper he/she finds a mirror image and its fading trace. The space between the two relates to the time spent between Novalis philosophical idealism and today's ecological issues. The narrative of the images evolves so that the elements of nature seems to fade away too. That is enhanced by the use of clearer shades of blue.

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